Ford: Ontario to stay in step 3 for a “couple of weeks”

The province will likely hit vaccination targets required to lift lockdown restrictions sometime after August 6


Ontario will likely remain in step 3 of the reopening plan for “a couple of weeks,” Premier Doug Ford said on Friday.

Asked whether the province would exit step 3 on August at a news conference at Ontario Place, Ford said the province had to hit benchmarks laid out in the plan first.

The government has said the province would remain in step 3 of the reopening plan for at least 21 days, meaning restrictions could be lifted as early as August 6 if all targets are met.

“We’re going to hit our targets first and we aren’t going to set a certain date of August 6,” he said, adding Ontario will exit step 3 “whenever we hit those main targets – and we’ll hit ’em – honestly, probably in a couple weeks, maybe sooner.”

Earlier this week, Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province hit one of four thresholds required to lift lockdown measures: More than 80 per cent of Ontarians 12 and up have received at least one dose.

In order for lockdown restrictions to be lifted, 80 per cent of people 12 and up must have received their first dose and 75 per cent must have received a second dose.

No public health unit can have less than 70 per cent of the population fully vaccinated before Ontario can relax the rules further.

According to provincial data, 81 per cent of all eligible adults 18 and up have had one dose and 70 per cent have had two doses as of July 30.

City of Toronto data reports 80 per cent of people 12 and up have had one dose and nearly 70 per cent have had two doses.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Kieran Moore said earlier this week that he would unveil post-step 3 plans “very shortly.”

Upon meeting the thresholds, the province will lift the majority of public health and workplace restrictions, including capacity limits for indoor and outdoor settings and limits for social gatherings.

“Only a small number of measures will remain in place, including the requirement for passive screening, such as posting a sign, and businesses requiring a safety plan,” the province has said.

Ontario reports 226 new COVID-19 cases, 11 more deaths

Meanwhile, Ontario’s seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases is continuing to creep up but hospitalizations have dropped.

On July 30, provincial public health officials reported a daily increase of 226 new infections, including 62 in Toronto.

The seven-day moving average is now 170, up from 160 a week earlier and 151 two weeks ago. The province logged 218 new cases on Thursday, 158 on Wednesday, 129 on Tuesday and 119 on Monday.

The virus has killed another 11 people, bringing the death toll since the pandemic started to 9,339.

However, the number of patients being treated in Ontario intensive care units has dropped in the past seven days.

There are now 117 patients in ICUs, a decline of four over yesterday and down from 137 last week. Of those, 77 – or 66 per cent – are breathing with the help of a ventilator, according to public health data.

The total number of confirmed active cases in the province is 1,491, down from 1,407 last Friday.

Medical labs completed 20,993 tests in the past day, making for a positivity rate of 1.1 per cent – up from 0.9 per cent this time last week.

Public health data confirmed a daily increase of 62 new infections in Toronto, up from 43 a week ago. The number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 in the city has risen to 2.27 from 1.57 last Friday.

As of 8 pm last night, the province had administered 19,377,608 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, including 83,907 yesterday.

Peel’s recent hospitalizations not fully immunized: Loh

Earlier this week, Peel Region’s Medical Officer of Health Lawrence Loh told reporters that all of the patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in recent weeks were not fully immunized.

Between June 1 and July 9, 81 COVID-19 patients were admitted to hospital in Peel. Two thirds were not vaccinated and one third was partially vaccinated, he said.

Two people had received two doses of the vaccine but developed the illness within the two-week period immediately following their second shot, he added.

Speaking at Toronto’s final weekly COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa said she did not have the specific numbers in front of her regarding the vaccination status of hospitalizaions.

She said Peel’s situation is “certainly being echoed all around the world where vaccine is accessible and being administered.”

New COVID-19 cases in Ontario on July 30

The following regions reported five or more new COVID-19 cases:

Toronto = 62

Waterloo = 35

Peel Region = 24

York Region = 13

Hamilton = 13

Halton Region = 13

Ottawa = 9

Durham Region = 9

Grey Bruce = 8

Middlesex-London = 8

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